Hurricane warnings for Baja; 94L forming spiral bands

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 03:36 PM GMT am 31. August 2009

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Hurricane warnings are in effect for the southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, where powerful Hurricane Jimena is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. The hurricane is in an environment with low wind shear, 5 - 10 knots, and warm Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs), 30°C. Shear is expected to remain low, and SSTs will decline to 28°C with a corresponding decrease in total oceanic heat content between now and landfall, and these conditions should mean that Jimena will be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane at landfall. Outer rain-bands of the hurricane will be appearing on Los Cabos radar soon, though the Mexican Weather Service web site has been hard to reach today. The computer models are split, with one camp calling for a landfall in southern Baja, and the other camp calling for landfall farther north near central Baja. The official NHC forecast splits the difference between these two solutions, and landfall could occur anywhere along a long stretch of the Baja coast. At this point, the UKMET model's solution taking Jimena westward out to sea is being discounted, since it is an outlier.

After Jimena makes initial landfall on Baja, it will cross over the Gulf of California and make landfall on Mainland Mexico. Depending upon how up along the coast this second landfall occurs, Arizona may receive moisture from Jimena late this week that will be capable of causing flooding rains.


Figure 1. Image of Hurricane Jimena taken by NASA'a MODIS instrument at 2020 UTC Sunday, 8/30/09.

Invest 94L
The well-organized tropical wave (94L) near 14.5N, 52W, about 500 miles east of the central Lesser Antilles Islands, continues to be a threat to develop into a tropical depression. Visible satellite imagery and this morning's QuikSCAT pass do not show a surface circulation yet, though 94L does have a large envelope of moisture and some modest heavy thunderstorm activity. QuikSCAT noted winds up to 30 mph. Water vapor satellite loops show that 94L has moistened the region surrounding it considerably, and dry air from the Saharan Air Layer is not a major impediment to development. Wind shear is a low 5 - 10 knots, and the ocean temperature are a moderately warm 28°C. Visible satellite loops over the past two hours show low-level spiral bands developing on 94L's northeast side, and I give a 70% chance the Hurricane Hunters will find a tropical depression or tropical storm on Tuesday when they investigate 94L.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of 94L, showing low-level spiral bands developing on the northeast side.

The center of 94L probably passed over Buoy 41040, located at 14.5N, 53W over the past hour. Winds blew northeasterly early this morning, then went calm, then shifted to southerly late this morning. The winds were less than 10 knots during the center passage, so the circulation of 94L is not yet well-defined. The pressure fell significantly as 94L moved over the buoy (seen only after one removes the wiggles due to daily atmospheric tide effect present in the tropics). 94L will appear on Martinique radar on Tuesday.

The forecast for 94L
Shear will remain low, 5 -10 knots, over the next 5 days, SSTs will be warm, in the 28 - 29°C range, and dry air should have only a minor inhibiting effect, so I can't see anything that will prevent 94L from developing into a tropical depression over the next 1 - 2 days. The HWRF model develops 94L into a hurricane 4 days from now, as does the SHIPS intensity model, but other models, such as the GFDL, ECMWF, and GFS, do not develop 94L at all.

Model solutions for the track of 94L are divergent. Water vapor satellite loops show two upper-level lows to the north and northwest of 94L that are pulling the storm to the west-northwest, and 94L's motion is expected to range between the west-northwest and northwest over the next three days. By Tuesday, 94L will slow down from its current 15 mph forward speed to about 10 mph. Most of the models predict that the steering influence of the upper-level lows will pull 94L far enough north that the storm will miss the Lesser Antilles, with a closest approach occurring Wednesday and Thursday. However, the ECMWF and HWRF models have 94L passing within 200 miles of the islands, and the northern Lesser Antilles may experience tropical storm conditions on Thursday.

At the longer ranges, the fate of 94L is highly uncertain. The Canadian model turns 94L to the north near Bermuda, then out to sea, while the NOGAPS model foresees a threat to the U.S. East Coast early next week. Both of these solutions are believable. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to make their first flight into 94L on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm EDT.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic
The remains of an old cold front are bringing cloudiness and showers to the northern Gulf of Mexico and waters offshore North and South Carolina. The GFS and NAM models indicate an area of low pressure may develop along this old front near the Florida Panhandle or off the coast of North Carolina by Thursday. However, such a low may be extratropical and not tropical.

My next post will be between 3 - 5pm this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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206. 7544
Quoting truecajun:
the bahama blob looks like it's trying to spin?? maybe??


looks like it and this is where we might see 94l or erika sitting in the same area in the coming days if the models hols lol
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Quoting eddye:
and what catgory do you think it could get 2

a ts

b 1
c 2
d 3
e 4
f 5


(C)Cat 2
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Quoting EarthMuffin:


Wow, Thats quite a precise forecast for an invest more than 1,000 miles from the southern tip of Florida...


Should have been preceded by "Nothing But Net"
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203. JLPR
Quoting bingcrosby:
If Danny can be named, Invest 94L can surely be given the title of TD #6 at 5pm. Right?


nope Danny had a LLC 94L doesn't
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
drak, what's your take on the blob near the bahamas?
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Quoting Drakoen:
I see that 94L has become better organized. The circulation is large. It appears the system will pass north of the Lesser Antilles. I have become less confident on this system going out to sea as the models now show a deep upper level ridge forming over the eastern seaboard.


Gulf storm ya think, Drak??
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If Danny can be named, Invest 94L can surely be given the title of TD #6 at 5pm. Right?
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Quoting NoNamePub:
Hey All -
With Conditions looking good for intensification and organization - what is everyone's "guess" on how soon we see Erika?


Im guessing by the 5am advisory
Member Since: Juni 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 489
the bahama blob looks like it's trying to spin?? maybe??
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Quoting EarthMuffin:


Wow, Thats quite a precise forecast for an invest more than 1,000 miles from the southern tip of Florida...

just going by the history and the models up above.
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If the NHC says it's not then it's not.
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Quoting futurenavymet:
i say east florida then across fl then another fl hit on the pan handle.


Wow, Thats quite a precise forecast for an invest more than 1,000 miles from the southern tip of Florida...
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Quoting carolinabelle:
The way 94L is starting to present on the satellite images, I don't see much possibility that it won't be upgraded for the 5pm update.


and how is it presenting herself?
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192. JLPR
Quoting NOVArules:
This isn't A TD?!





look at the visible and you will see half of the broad low rotating outside the blob of convection
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Quoting eddye:
and what catgory do you think it could get 2

a ts

b 1
c 2
d 3
e 4
f 5



B
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190. JLPR
Quoting NoNamePub:
Hey All -
With Conditions looking good for intensification and organization - what is everyone's "guess" on how soon we see Erika?


Tonight or Tomorrow
94L needs to pull itself together, stack itself and then it could get going
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
This isn't A TD?!



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Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:


I really hope in a week, i can say you didnt know what you were talking about.


me too im near you and the fsu/miami game is next week so yeah i hope im wrong to.
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186. jpsb
Oh yeah, a nice wet tropical storm or little hurricane would be great. I FINALLY got a descent rain a few days ago. First real rain in 4 months! Even the grass was dying. I don't mind tropical systems to much, just no more Ikes please.
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185. NW
To me there appears to be something interesting developing just north of Puerto Rico.

Not sure if it is one of the upper level lows, but clearly it seems weaker than the upper low to the north and east of it. In any case there seems to be a lot of thunderstorm activity busting through along with plenty of moisture. there also appears to be just a bit of low level cyclonic rotation and given the high level clouds injected into the higher altitudes now with the T-storms, it also appears that there might be a hint of anticyclonic outflow. Seems pretty stationary at this time.

Alan
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184. eddye
and what catgory do you think it could get 2

a ts

b 1
c 2
d 3
e 4
f 5

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I see that 94L has become better organized. The circulation is large. It appears the system will pass north of the Lesser Antilles. I have become less confident on this system going out to sea as the models now show a deep upper level ridge forming over the eastern seaboard.
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Quoting jpsb:
I am by no means an expert but, there is a cold/cool front in Texas right now so I don't see how a hurricane could get past that and make it into the GoM. Now if that is possible, someone/anyone please enlighten me.


i'm guessing that maybe the cool front will have passed by the time it could there?
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I'm not going crazy for the GOM. It just seems that this one might would have more of a chance to do so than the others that have formed. I'm not saying it will,just saying it may have a chance....


We do not go crazy in florida. We are just concerned everytime that there is a storm
that can likely affect us. Believe me when I tell you, I am not hoping for a storm to hit
us. I was living in South Dade when Andrew hit
in 1992 and I lost everything I owned in a couple of hours. Maybe someone like JFV/WS who are not old enough or have never experienced a true storm will wish for a storm, but that is
not my case.
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Quoting Patrap:
12 Z Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models



Uhoh. 4 to 3. that's the first this year.
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Quoting Patrap:
12 Z Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)



ugg well that doesn't look good, thank god we have plenty of time for a few flip flops
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Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting futurenavymet:
i say east florida then across fl then another fl hit on the pan handle.


I really hope in a week, i can say you didnt know what you were talking about.
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94L still has to do some work to get itself to fit in the criteria of a TC. Look carefully at the visible satellite loop. On the northern side of the convection an outflow boundary can been seen racing outwards beginning in the 1215 UTC frame. The WV loop indicates that there may be a little mid level dry air still being drawn into the circulation in the upper left quadrant. This dry air infusion justifies the cold out flow boundary observed in the visible sat loop.

It'll continue to slowly organize until it coughs out the mid level dry air. After 94L rids itself of this it will transition into a more rapid intensification pattern.

Dr. Masters has touched on this in previous blogs.
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Quoting truecajun:


it does seem to have more of a chance than the previous storms. i think that is what people are implying, not that it's more likely to go there than the atlantic, rather more likely than previous storms to go there.


yes, thank you for understanding what I am saying....
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Hey All -
With Conditions looking good for intensification and organization - what is everyone's "guess" on how soon we see Erika?
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have camping plans in the suwannee river valley in florida in two weeks.........or maybe not. even 'really good rains' could mess up that camping trip. so a tropical entity of some sort could definetely put a damper on things...
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Thanks 954FtCane! I am supposed to leave Sat and come home Mon. I will be watching the situation very closely.
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Quoting tanman63:
I wonder when the next Quickscat will come out? Maybe NHC will do what they need to and number or name this puppy. As far as locations and such, here's what I have been pondering:

Since 12z on 8/27 (Thursday) through 0z from last night, Mrs. Invest94 has traveled 2.1 degrees north, and 22.7 degrees west.
*For the moment, I'm not totally in synch with today's 12z reading of 15 N 52.1 W....I still feel like it's moving WNW and will skirt north of Puerto Rico

The intensity forecast looks wide open...cat 1 to cat 4...who knows, because we know the models don't right now. We'll have to watch what happens, but I think on Friday we'll know whether or not it's heading into the GOM, the Atlantic seaboard, or out to sea.


Not until roughly 21:00-22:00Z.
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12 Z Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)


Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
i say east florida then across fl then another fl hit on the pan handle.
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168. JLPR
Quoting serialteg:


In Puerto Rico we have this saying, "No llame al Diablo", which means "Don't call on the Devil..."


lol I have never said that xD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223


Could the area N of the Dom Rep see any development.
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12 Z Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models

Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
165. JLPR
Looking at 94L on the Rainbow images and you say
OMG! its a TD lol
but look at the RGB images, you can see the broad low rotating between the heavy most organized convection and the weaker less organized convection

so what we think is TD6 is actually the MLC I guess

RGB LOOP
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 5223
Quoting truecajun:


yes. they are more crazy for florida. however, i have to say, it would be cool to see what would happen if it got in the GOM, being that it is so hot. still though, i'm no wishcaster. i had my share of Gustav last year. i can do without the awesomeness of nature in the GOM.


In Puerto Rico we have this saying, "No llame al Diablo", which means "Don't call on the Devil..."
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
163. jpsb
I am by no means an expert but, there is a cold/cool front in Texas right now so I don't see how a hurricane could get past that and make it into the GoM. Now if that is possible, someone/anyone please enlighten me.
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Maybe the NHC is waiting awhile before classifying 94L as TD 6, everybody remembers Danny, where they "flipped a coin", said it was a tropical system and their intensity predictions were way, way off!!
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I'm not going crazy for the GOM. It just seems that this one might would have more of a chance to do so than the others that have formed. I'm not saying it will,just saying it may have a chance....


it does seem to have more of a chance than the previous storms. i think that is what people are implying, not that it's more likely to go there than the atlantic, rather more likely than previous storms to go there.
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Quoting bocahurricane:
i have a question... IF (big if) 94L were to develop and move towards South Florida what time frame are we looking at? I am asking because I live in S. Florida and am going up to NJ for a wedding this weekend.

we're probably looking at early next week, you have plenty of time just monitor the situation we should know better later this week of what we're really looking at.
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Quoting tornadofan:
Tropical wave faces uphill battle with hostile wind shear

That’s because there is large low-pressure area east of the Bahamas, creating wind shear, said James Franklin, branch chief over the hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center.


That's why I was surprised by Dr. Master's blog. 2 different viewpoints FTW
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
Quoting jpsb:
They must all live in Ohio. Here on the Texas gulf coast we do not like big Hurricanes.


But if you are in S texas during the deadliest drought in Texas then you need a hurricane. But I know you don't need destruction. You need something like Allison. It shouldn't flood because of the very low lake and river levels.
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Quoting serialteg:


People here go crazy for the GOM or Florida.


yes. they are more crazy for florida. however, i have to say, it would be cool to see what would happen if it got in the GOM, being that it is so hot. still though, i'm no wishcaster. i had my share of Gustav last year. i can do without the awesomeness of nature in the GOM.
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If anyone's concerned about those living in Jimana's path, I'd have a look at this link. The potential exists for Jimana to make landfall at or near Cabo as a cat 3 or 4, then cross over toward the eastern Baja, possibly near Mulege, on its way to the Mexican mainland. With the expected storm surge, and the shallow little river running up into the town from the sea, I'd be worried about the people there. If you're a member of the Baja Bush Pilots, or just happen to know, I'd like to hear about the preparations there and at Hotel Serenidad.

Link
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.